PLNU Organizational Communication Professor Dr. Gordon L. “GL” Forward was found dead in his home on Tuesday in La Mesa due to a failed liver.
Forward was 64 years old and has worked at PLNU over 30 years. He had been battling chronic liver disease for a few months with the support of his close friend and PLNU Communication Professor Kathleen Czech.
“He was my best friend and we told each other everything,” said Czech “I never had a friend like that.”
Forward had received some “hopeful answers” from his doctor regarding a surgical procedure or a liver transplant that would have taken place later this week.
News of Forward’s death was announced to the student body by an email from Vice President for Student Development Caye Smith.
“I was surprised,” said Communications Professor, Skip Rutledge, who visited Forward’s home shortly after his death, “I didn’t suspect it at all.”
Early Wednesday morning, Rutledge wrote an email to select faculty members and sections of the student body regarding Forward’s death.
“Our good friend and beloved colleague Dr. G L Forward has gone to be with the Lord after having suffered for perhaps a month or more with a debilitating and painful condition relating to a failing liver.” Rutledge wrote.
“It grew progressively worse, but it looked like he was finally getting some hopeful answers, some relief, had begun to feel better, and was scheduled for a surgical procedure Aug. 7. Unfortunately he appears to have passed in his sleep last night,” he added.
At approximately 9 p.m. on Tuesday Czech and Rutledge, who had been checking up on Forward, grew concerned because he didn’t return any of their phone calls.
Czech says she rushed to Forward’s house in La Mesa and saw him lying in his bed unconscious so she called the police and attempted to resuscitate him.
Rutledge who was informed by Czech arrived at Forward’s house around 10 p.m.
Paramedics were already there, and Forward was later pronounced dead. Czech said there were no signs of struggle and that he died in his sleep.
“I wish he could have seen how much people loved him,” said Czech. “He never saw that.”
The memorial service for Forward will begin at 2 p.m. on the 15th in Crill Hall at PLNU.